“The night before he died, Brigham Young said he would like 1000 of this book distributed at the east.” These are the words scribbled on the first page of the Bancroft Library’s copy of Edward Tullidge’s The Women of Mormondom. Regardless of the accuracy of this quote, Tullidge’s 1877 book, now available on Project Gutenberg, is doubtlessly one of the precious treasures of Mormon history. Tullidge compiled several accounts of women living in the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young eras of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and laid them before the world in this work. He valiantly defended them in their practice of plural marriage and their campaign for women’s suffrage.
Due to its rich collection of first-person accounts and biographical sketches, this book has been quoted several times by modern-day church leaders. Indeed, this book has been quoted by President Gordon B. Hinckley in the general conferences of the church. This has all been done despite the fact that Tullidge at the time of the book’s publication was excommunicated for apostasy and strong beliefs in mysticism that plagued the church during the mid-eighteen hundreds. Even with his apostate viewpoints glossing the pages of this book occasionally, the historical sources and narratives of this book truly testify of the faithfulness of these early women of the Latter-day Saint Church.
For more information on Tullidge and his relationship with the church during his publication of this book, see Ronald W. Walker’s “Edward Tullidge: Historian of the Mormon Commonwealth” in Journal of Mormon History Vol. 3 (1976), pages 55-72.
Thanks to Steven Fluckiger for proofreading this work and contributing this blog post.